The Western Mystery Tradition has always considered the Sun, our life-sustainer and spiritual illuminator, to be masculine in nature.
However, for many of the World’s ancient cultures the Sun was more usually understood to express feminine rather than masculine characteristics.
Drawing Down the Sun: Rekindle the Magick of the Solar Goddesses by Stephanie Woodfield examines these ancient traditions to see what, if anything, they might have to teach us about the role of Sun goddesses throughout history.
Drawing Down the Sun opens with a general commentary on the solar feminine and establishing the basis upon which we might start to re-evaluate the sexual polarity of this planetary body.
The book includes research by the author into Important symbols and totems associated with the sun goddesses. It focusses upon mythological stories and traditions related to the Sun and reveals the magickal heritage associated with this primary deity.
From there the author progresses to look at the ancient traditions associated with Sun goddess worship. These include areas such as Japan where the Solar Feminine has always been the default position and which continues even to this day.
The next area to be examined are the Baltic regions where Pagan worship of all types remained long after their fall and collapse throughout the rest of Europe. This strong resistance to change was in-spite of the influence that was made upon religious belief by the early Christian church—a religion, one might note, which is strongly polarized towards the solar masculine principle.
The author then investigates Finland—a land where magick is infused into every area of the landscape and where bot the Sun and the Moon were considered feminine, before moving on to look at the belief systems of the Celtics. Here we find numerous Celtic goddesses connected to the Sun.
Moving back to the Middle East the next area to be looked at is Egypt. Here things are not so clear-cut for whilst many Ancient Egyptian cultures clearly associated their Gods with the Sun (Ra and Horus being just two examples) the goddesses of Hathor, Sekhmet and Bast are also solar-connected.
Canaan, an area that includes today’s Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and parts of Syria, is next to be considered. Here, like the Egyptians, the Sun was seen as both a benevolent as well as destructive force—polarities which define key attributes of the male and female.
Over the other side of the World Drawing Down the Sun next explores the traditions of the Americas—a land where the Sun was seen as both Masculine and feminine depending almost on local traditions and beliefs.
Part three of the book considers modern Sun worship. Here the books’ narrative becomes more personal as the author explains her own personal experiences in following the path of the Solar Feminine. She also offers advice on how the reader can to connect to it. This includes practical insight on how the reader can construct a Sun altar, how to use it in blessing, how to add Sun meditation into a daily routine before the books closes with a look at Solar Magick.
The book also includes reference sections, a bibliography and a full index.
Drawing Down the Sun is a book that opens up an important debate in modern spirituality and seeks to answer that continual question – “Is the Sun polarized to the masculine or to the feminine?”
Some might actually question whether it really matters but, of course, Western astrologers and ritual magickians are just two groups who will find this to be an important, if not challenging, debate.
The question also opens up some interesting thoughts on exactly what is the true nature of the feminine and masculine; for in todays’ modern Western society traditional roles and characteristics of both our sexes have undergone radical change in the past few decades.
I enjoyed this book and the authors’ research and challenge to our current magickal paradigms, however, it is not without its failings.
I would have liked it’s researches into feminine solar worship to have extended throughout all regions of the World; including its influence in Australasia and countries rich in Goddess worship such as India and Africa.
I also think that the book would also have benefited greatly from the inclusion of a few illustrations in order to make the author’s research have greater credibility as well as to make the book a richer and more interesting read.
Despite this the book, as an exposé on how to reclaim feminine solar power, is excellent, informative and useful. Its practical advice on how to work with, and evoke, the various Sun goddesses are well structured and add greatly to the publications’ function both as a spiritual workbook and a historical guide.
Consequentially this is a book that should serve to encourage deeper integration of a broader spectrum of spiritual philosophy by many of todays’ Pagan and Wicca counter-cultures—groups who traditionally focus their work upon feminine Lunar worship. In this regard Drawing Down the Sun offers its readers the opportunity to open up to and engage with, new spiritual concepts; as well as to embrace exciting and totally invigorating streams of solar magickal energy.
Whether you class these energies as masculine or feminine at their source is a matter of personal preference but as a guide to understanding their impact and influence, both personally and culturally, this book is an excellent resource.